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Ways to Use or Store Your Loved One's Ashes

If you have recently lost a loved one who wished to be cremated, you may be wondering what to do with the cremains, also called the ashes. With a traditional burial, you're expected to memorialize your loved one with a headstone, but if you choose cremation, the options are more open.

Your deceased loved one's remains deserve a special resting place. If you're not sure what that should be, keep reading. This blog will guide you through your choices.

Return the Ashes to Nature

One of the biggest advantages of cremation is that the remains can be easily dispersed back into the environment. Your options are many, and they include the following:

  • Scatter the ashes. You can scatter your loved one's ashes nearly anywhere, though you'll need permission to scatter them on private property. Whether your family member loved the sky, the sea, or a special place in the forest, you can arrange to disperse his or her ashes there.
  • Plant the ashes. If your loved one was fond of nature, especially trees, then this might be a good way to memorialize him or her. Some companies will help you plant a tree sapling over your loved one's ashes. The tree will feed on the remains, taking them into itself as it grows. The tree can serve as a place to visit to feel close to your family member.
  • Put the ashes in a coral reef. If your loved one was an environmentalist or a lover of the ocean, this might be a good option. Coral reefs around the world have been suffering, and some organizations are rebuilding them by building concrete structures to support them. You can arrange to have your loved one's ashes mixed with that concrete.

If you want to disperse your loved one's ashes in the natural world, just think about what that person cared about. You have so many options that you can find a fitting tribute to his or her memory.

Make the Ashes Into Art

If you'd like a creative keepsake to remember your loved one by, you can make the ashes into something else. Your options include:

  • Glass. Ashes can be turned to glass. You can have a bowl, a paperweight, a stained glass window, or another type of glass artwork made.
  • Paint. Some artists can mix the cremains with their paint and then make a painting that you feel represents your loved one.
  • Tattoo ink. Just like paint, you can mix ashes with ink for a very personal tattoo.

Art that is made from your loved one's ashes is a meaningful and beautiful way to remember him or her.

Store the Ashes in an Urn

The most common and traditional resting place for ashes is in an urn. However, you have many, many options for types of urns and what to do with them.

Types of Urns

Urns come in any shape, material, or color you could want, either plain or decorated. You can pick out whatever style of urn you think best represents your loved one. Beyond looks, you can also pick the type of urn:

  • Individual-sized urns. Most urns are made to hold the ashes of one person. The urn will hold about 200 cubic inches, or about 6.8 pints.
  • Sharing urns. Multiple family members may wish to keep a portion of the loved one's ashes. In this case, you can divide the cremains among several smaller urns for each family member's household.
  • Keepsake urns. Many people will scatter or use a portion of the ashes and keep a small amount in a keepsake urn.

After you decide how much of the ashes you want to keep, you can pick the right type of urn.

Places to Store Urns

If you want to keep your loved one's ashes in an urn, you also need to decide where that urn should be. You can keep the urn in your home to remember your loved one, or you can choose an alternate resting place that you can visit to pay your respects.

Cemeteries can bury urns of ashes. This means that you can visit a traditional gravesite with a headstone- you'll have a place to go to lay flowers or feel close to your loved one. Often the plot to bury an urn is much smaller and less expensive than a plot for a full casket.

If you'd like a more compact option, look into a local columbarium, or a building specifically for housing urns. Your loved one's urn will be given its own wall niche for display, and you can visit the building to view the urn whenever you want.

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If your loved one is cremated, you can personalize the final resting place to fit his or her personality. No matter what method you choose, we hope that you find closure and meaning in the experience.

If you would like an urn of some kind, contact Elmwood Casket Company. We can assist you in finding the perfect urn at an affordable price. Contact us for more information.